If you thought making your packed lunches was complicated, spare a thought for Chef Stephen Fairie.
With today’s culture of rock-star chefs (and sometimes super-sized egos to match), and in an industry which can be tough on junior staff, it’s refreshing to meet a chef who spends much of her working life hidden behind the scenes, who cares about developing and mentoring those under her charge and who uses her skills to help in the community.
It would be fair to say that I enjoy a good cocktail and, of course, I love food – so I jumped at the chance to create some racione-style dishes to pair with the exciting cocktails created by Peter Lowry and Laura Walker of Wellington’s Forresters Lane.
Nothing Signal Spring more than the bright pink stalks of rhubarb. For me it wasn’t love at first sight, though; as a kid I didn’t like the boiled- to-death way my mum prepared those stalks from the garden that were more green than pink. It wasn’t until much later in life that I came to love rhubarb.
As soon as I started to think about spring salads the ideas were flowing, mostly fed by my attraction to varied textures and strong flavours. I was pretty pleased with my ideas, then a couple of days later I revisited them and thought, “Actually, are these technically ‘salads’?”
In 1981, former all black the late Terry McCashin started Mac’s as an upstart independent brewery in an industry that was completely dominated by two big breweries. After driving rubbish trucks and playing rugby at the very highest level, McCashin started running pubs.
Perhaps it is part of our new world personality, combined with a digital modern society, that keeps us New Zealanders in constant search of the next new thing. Fascination with the new and shiny is not necessarily a bad thing in many sectors, however it does not translate well to the world of wine.
The cheese with no name is a petite, palm-sized pleasure that punches way above its own weight. A soft-ripened sheep’s milk disc with a thin natural-bloomy rind of a creamy yellow to off-white colour, it is indeed a complex mouthful. The paste is an unctuous fudgy yellow; soft, rich and thick, with strong earthy undertones and a gentle sweetness. The sheep’s milk is really creamy and very high in milk solids yielding twice as much cheese per litre of milk than cow’s milk.
“Chardonnay is back!” is the catch cry. Well, in my view, she has never left. However, she has had some time to reflect as her more flamboyant peers, pinot gris and sauvignon blanc, have shared the limelight.
New Zealand’s first ever Organic Wine Week (17-23 September 2018) will see organic wine producers teaming up with six of the country’s leading restaurants – The Grove in Auckland, Shepherd in Wellington, Bistronomy in Hawke’s Bay, Arbour in Blenheim, Gatherings from Christchurch and Sherwood in Queenstown – to deliver some exciting organic wine and food experiences.